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Ras Kass’ Soul On Ice Sequel Uses Lyricism To Confront New Threats (Audio)

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Earlier this week, the first wave of episodes from Wu-Tang: An American Saga premiered on Hulu. The dramatic miniseries chronicles the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan. Executive produced by RZA and Method Man, the series follows The Abbott and his siblings on a street journey that eventually leads to one of Rap’s greatest collectives. Notably from the Rap community, Dave East portrays Meth’, while Joey Bada$$ plays the Inspectah Deck character. RZA and Joey sat down together with Angie Martinez to discuss their relationship and making Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

To open the discussion, Joey delves into his early connection to RZA and how it shaped his young career. Joey explains, “I’m super grateful to be here with this man. Even before I was actually a part of this series, this man has been a mentor to me personally. I could call him about anything. When I was first trying to set up my label with Pro Era and everything, this man definitely gave me his ear.” Joey says that onetime Wu manager Sophia Chang was who linked the two Brooklyn natives.

RZA Breaks Down 10 Kung Fu Films That Wu-Tang Clan Sampled (Video)

Meanwhile, RZA compares his relationship with Joey to mentoring he received from Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes. “[Sophia] used to bring [Joey Bada$$] out to the Wu Mansion, out in the woods [of New Jersey], and he would come through and just chop it up. When I was trying to figure some things out, there was people like Isaac Hayes and Quincy Jones that would spend time with me and I would just pick their brains and watch out for the pitfalls. So when I became a guy that had success, I made myself available [to] Joey, who has such a unique spirit, such a real representation of Hip-Hop as well, in an era where I was like, ‘Whoa, what is going on here?’ At the end of the day, it’s like, that’s the only way wisdom multiplies when we share it with the next generation.” He adds that he tried to offer the same guidance to A$AP Rocky and others.

RZA opens up about what he learned from Ike back in the day. “[He showed] me the proper progressions. The ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ song, which is one of Wu-Tang’s biggest songs, is a sample from [a composition by] Isaac Hayes and David Porter. He showed me how that piano went. And by me knowing what I was doing, it advanced my skills. It probably led to me becoming a composer because I’m seeing the movement of music, not just in a Hip-Hop way of moving it and all that. Then he also helped me with the consciousness of health, veganism, and all these things.” He says that the onetime mogul within the Stax Records family also gave RZA some game on the record business.

RZA Explains Why He Believes Roc-A-Fella Records Mistreated ODB

Further in the interview (8:00), RZA discusses how Joey’s role as Inspectah Deck manifested. “Joey was striving to act, right? The crazy thing was I think at a Christmas party when Deck was there and [Joey] was there, and at the time, I knew the show was going to happen. And he [Joey] doesn’t know this though. I whispered over to Inspectah Deck and was like, ‘Yo. What you think, yo? What you think about this kid right here for you? He’s a real lyricist. He’s dope. He’s got some physical qualities of Deck, you know, tall and [dark skinned]. And Deck said, ‘That would be interesting. That would be cool.'” RZA says that his partners in the series ultimately agreed, along with Bada$$’ willingness to play The Rebel INS. Elsewhere in the conversation, he admits that despite striking physical resemblance, the team had to pass on Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son for the role of his father. RZA adds that it was a hard conversation following the audition, but he hopes Young Dirty Bastard’s acting chops may be expanded for a long-discussed biopic.

Deeper in the interview (25:00), RZA discusses the January documentary, Wu-Tang: Of Mics And Men, and how it affected he and his Wu brothers. Sacha Jenkins’ revealing documentary looks the intricacies of the group, including some private controversies surrounding business and management. Specifically, the film looks at RZA’s brother, Mitchell “Divine” Diggs, who eventually stepped down as the group’s business manager.

U-God Airs Wu-Tang’s Dirty Laundry. It Was Far From Simple Back Then.

The Abbott remembers the premiere, “That was great. That was brave. That was, for me personally, it was like a little therapy and gut-wrenching. It was painful too. We didn’t filter it, and nobody knew what nobody was saying. So some things I could totally disagree with, totally disagree, totally see the story differently than the person who’s saying it. It hurt me to hear that you felt you were fighting for something I thought I was giving you. But, what I learned from it is the true power of perception.” RZA uses people in the room during the interview to illustrate his point. “We gotta respect what they saw. It gave me a new respect for that. It was very hard to watch. I had the power to cut some stuff out, but I let it ride, and let the universe itself, as time evolves, maybe their point will become more relevant and understood by me, and my point will be more relevant and understood by them.”

RZA then discusses how the doc helped the group as a whole, and the premiere of the series at Tribeca Film Festival. He singles out U-God, whose 2018 memoir, Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang, confronted some of the business dealings that were also unpacked in this year’s doc.

Power Discusses Founding Wu-Wear & Breaks Down The Mathematics (AFH TV Video)

While RZA addressed his band-mate and artist amid a lawsuit, he says there have been new developments on the personal front. “I think it [the documentary] helped heal. The big premiere we had for that at Tribeca Film [Festival], the cool thing about it was that a lot of brothers didn’t see it until that night. It brought out emotions. You read about the press talking about U-God and RZA [being in a legal battle]. When we were at the film festival, we stepped in front of the audience. U-God stood there a little watery-eyed, and he was like, ‘Yo, I love this man.’ We go through what we go through, and I love that man too. I love him, and I love his children. Our mothers knew each other, man. This is a community that was probably neglected, and would not be known. These men came together and made this community known. No matter how we look at it, we all were able to give our children a better path than we had. And that’s the ultimate goal. And that’s, to me, the ultimate goal for Wu-Tang. If anybody listens to our music, watches our TV show, watches our documentary, please absorb it, and realize that we are just trying to show you that there is a better path. It’s like, you may not think that in your twenties, what it’s going to be [like] in your forties. You may commit that crime, or give up, or drop out of school, or spend that money, or abandon the kid, not knowing the beauty of what happens 20 years later. And we could be testaments to that.”

Earlier this week, the first wave of episodes from Wu-Tang: An American Saga premiered on Hulu. The dramatic miniseries chronicles the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan. Executive produced by RZA and Method Man, the series follows The Abbott and his siblings on a street journey that eventually leads to one of Rap’s greatest collectives. Notably from the Rap community, Dave East portrays Meth’, while Joey Bada$$ plays the Inspectah Deck character. RZA and Joey sat down together with Angie Martinez to discuss their relationship and making Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

To open the discussion, Joey delves into his early connection to RZA and how it shaped his young career. Joey explains, “I’m super grateful to be here with this man. Even before I was actually a part of this series, this man has been a mentor to me personally. I could call him about anything. When I was first trying to set up my label with Pro Era and everything, this man definitely gave me his ear.” Joey says that onetime Wu manager Sophia Chang was who linked the two Brooklyn natives.

RZA Breaks Down 10 Kung Fu Films That Wu-Tang Clan Sampled (Video)

Meanwhile, RZA compares his relationship with Joey to mentoring he received from Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes. “[Sophia] used to bring [Joey Bada$$] out to the Wu Mansion, out in the woods [of New Jersey], and he would come through and just chop it up. When I was trying to figure some things out, there was people like Isaac Hayes and Quincy Jones that would spend time with me and I would just pick their brains and watch out for the pitfalls. So when I became a guy that had success, I made myself available [to] Joey, who has such a unique spirit, such a real representation of Hip-Hop as well, in an era where I was like, ‘Whoa, what is going on here?’ At the end of the day, it’s like, that’s the only way wisdom multiplies when we share it with the next generation.” He adds that he tried to offer the same guidance to A$AP Rocky and others.

RZA opens up about what he learned from Ike back in the day. “[He showed] me the proper progressions. The ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ song, which is one of Wu-Tang’s biggest songs, is a sample from [a composition by] Isaac Hayes and David Porter. He showed me how that piano went. And by me knowing what I was doing, it advanced my skills. It probably led to me becoming a composer because I’m seeing the movement of music, not just in a Hip-Hop way of moving it and all that. Then he also helped me with the consciousness of health, veganism, and all these things.” He says that the onetime mogul within the Stax Records family also gave RZA some game on the record business.

RZA Explains Why He Believes Roc-A-Fella Records Mistreated ODB

Further in the interview (8:00), RZA discusses how Joey’s role as Inspectah Deck manifested. “Joey was striving to act, right? The crazy thing was I think at a Christmas party when Deck was there and [Joey] was there, and at the time, I knew the show was going to happen. And he [Joey] doesn’t know this though. I whispered over to Inspectah Deck and was like, ‘Yo. What you think, yo? What you think about this kid right here for you? He’s a real lyricist. He’s dope. He’s got some physical qualities of Deck, you know, tall and [dark skinned]. And Deck said, ‘That would be interesting. That would be cool.'” RZA says that his partners in the series ultimately agreed, along with Bada$$’ willingness to play The Rebel INS. Elsewhere in the conversation, he admits that despite striking physical resemblance, the team had to pass on Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son for the role of his father. RZA adds that it was a hard conversation following the audition, but he hopes Young Dirty Bastard’s acting chops may be expanded for a long-discussed biopic.

Deeper in the interview (25:00), RZA discusses the January documentary, Wu-Tang: Of Mics And Men, and how it affected he and his Wu brothers. Sacha Jenkins’ revealing documentary looks the intricacies of the group, including some private controversies surrounding business and management. Specifically, the film looks at RZA’s brother, Mitchell “Divine” Diggs, who eventually stepped down as the group’s business manager.

U-God Airs Wu-Tang’s Dirty Laundry. It Was Far From Simple Back Then.

The Abbott remembers the premiere, “That was great. That was brave. That was, for me personally, it was like a little therapy and gut-wrenching. It was painful too. We didn’t filter it, and nobody knew what nobody was saying. So some things I could totally disagree with, totally disagree, totally see the story differently than the person who’s saying it. It hurt me to hear that you felt you were fighting for something I thought I was giving you. But, what I learned from it is the true power of perception.” RZA uses people in the room during the interview to illustrate his point. “We gotta respect what they saw. It gave me a new respect for that. It was very hard to watch. I had the power to cut some stuff out, but I let it ride, and let the universe itself, as time evolves, maybe their point will become more relevant and understood by me, and my point will be more relevant and understood by them.”

RZA then discusses how the doc helped the group as a whole, and the premiere of the series at Tribeca Film Festival. He singles out U-God, whose 2018 memoir, Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang, confronted some of the business dealings that were also unpacked in this year’s doc.

Power Discusses Founding Wu-Wear & Breaks Down The Mathematics (AFH TV Video)

While RZA addressed his band-mate and artist amid a lawsuit, he says there have been new developments on the personal front. “I think it [the documentary] helped heal. The big premiere we had for that at Tribeca Film [Festival], the cool thing about it was that a lot of brothers didn’t see it until that night. It brought out emotions. You read about the press talking about U-God and RZA [being in a legal battle]. When we were at the film festival, we stepped in front of the audience. U-God stood there a little watery-eyed, and he was like, ‘Yo, I love this man.’ We go through what we go through, and I love that man too. I love him, and I love his children. Our mothers knew each other, man. This is a community that was probably neglected, and would not be known. These men came together and made this community known. No matter how we look at it, we all were able to give our children a better path than we had. And that’s the ultimate goal. And that’s, to me, the ultimate goal for Wu-Tang. If anybody listens to our music, watches our TV show, watches our documentary, please absorb it, and realize that we are just trying to show you that there is a better path. It’s like, you may not think that in your twenties, what it’s going to be [like] in your forties. You may commit that crime, or give up, or drop out of school, or spend that money, or abandon the kid, not knowing the beauty of what happens 20 years later. And we could be testaments to that.”

Over two decades ago, Ras Kass planted a flag for lyricism that balanced accounts of life in the streets of South Central with information found in the books that upset the setup. That unique gift culminated on Soul On Ice, the MC’s 1996 debut that has been heralded in circles ever since it dropped. Ever since, Ras Kass has been a beacon for the same kind of music, without compromise.

This weekend, Ras releases Soul On Ice 2 (embedded below), a long-touted sequel to his breakthrough work. He does so with assistance from S.O.I. collaborator Diamond D, as well as a cast that includes Snoop Dogg, Immortal Technique, CeeLo, and Blasphemy collaborator, producer Apollo Brown.

Ras Kass Reflects In-Depth On The 20th Anniversary Of Soul On Ice (AFH TV Video)

In a similar vein as his ’96 project, Kass’ latest effort attacks the harsh realities of the world in which he and his constituents live. Despite the time in between records, the mentality and messages between Soul On Ice and its sequel ring true and remain consistent. Comparing his latest album to his debut in a press statement, the MC notes, “What’s stark is how little has changed. The ghosts of America’s original sins continue to haunt, but they’re now twinned with a variety of new indignities from minor to major. They range from trust fund kids pretending to be broke and plasticine women to weed being legal, but the police will still kill you.”

Despite its impressive cast, one of S.O.I. 2‘s finest moments is Ras Kass alone. “Opioid Crisis,” a nod to his single “Nature Of A Threat,” from his Soul On Ice debut, also doubles as the album’s standoff. For seven minutes, Kass rips apart America’s current establishment over Chuck James’ production. Kass’ message is haunting, as the HRSMN rapper continues to attack the same powers that be that he began rapping about over 20 years ago.

Ras Kass Rhymes With A Vengeance. He Vows To Make 2019 His Year (Video Premiere)

To open, Kass describes a scene with his trademark wicked wordplay. “At Max’s eating a philly / Alt-Right tried to kill me / Dropped my cheesesteak and grabbed the MAC semi / Scuffling, shot a Republican in the face with it / Only the second time I’ve seen an eagle kill a patriot / That’s a Brady fumble, let me slay you double / Catch an L, then another, let the ladies love you / Rappers lazy paying baby dues to vaguely mumble / I’m from a stronger breed, victims of the ’80s struggle / Crack cocaine decimated poor neighborhoods / Politicians attacked us for the ‘greater good’ / The War On Crime, got more people in prison / Than living in Wyoming and South Dakota combined / Society blind / Or willfully ignorant / Ain’t no moral high ground when you’re killing your citizens / Yo, the hood got locked for rock / The ‘burbs sniffed powder and got a slap on the wrist from cops / Stop, frisk, stand your ground / Had b*tches boostin’ in Beverly Hills when Whitney Houston drowned.” Using football and government homonyms, Razzy Kazzy eventually ties his verse to the controversial Rockefeller Laws.

In his second verse, Kass dives deeper into America’s drug epidemic, one that affects not just the country, but the Rap game as well. Then The Purple One OD’d / I went from the revolution to sitting in the nosebleeds / Youngsters try to insinuate you’re washed up they call you O.G. / Nope, I’m just the homie / You in the trap, I’m the best lil’ ni**a / Wash your dirty f*cking mouth out with zest, lil’ ni**a / And Lil’ Peep got depressed, deceased his flesh / So how is it legal to sell a drug with a million side effects, including death / ‘Cause the same condition it supposed to treat / No cures, they sell temporary pain relief / Big pharmaceutical companies supply the ‘burbs / ‘Cause all the pills in West Virginia made by Heisenberg / Republicans blame Mexico, visit New Hampshire, where the Mexicans? / I asked Alexis, them / ‘How do I make heroin out of Dexatrim and Fentanyl?’ / Y’all catchin’ Zs when I spit at y’all / I should be in Forbes for all the illest bars / Time to join the racket, no tennis ball / It ain’t the Mexican cartel, ain’t the Black folk / ‘Cause the real plug wearing white lab coats.”

Ras Kass Reworks “Soul On Ice” With Some New Lyrics That Burn (Video Premiere)

Further into the track’s second segment, Kass fights the industry, acknowledging the deep-seeded issues within the industry and Priority Records. He even points the finger at himself. Ras rhymes, “I’m spitting bars my G, ’til I R.I.P / Ask No I.D. / I’ma shine like the star I be / Not lookin’ down on the ground in Hollywood / I be in the hood, stronger despite what this industry did to me / Ten years of litigation, that liar Wendy G / Sometimes the insult is the favor, thank you my frenemies / I’m lovin’ it, we need more women up in the government / Support the #MeToo movement, but I’m discoverin’ / Acknowledges, self-admitted misogynist / The problem is with feminism, it’s corrupted, mister-sogynist.”

Press photograph provided by MAC Media.

Elzhi, Ras Kass & Large Professor Rap About The Enduring Problems From Reaganomics

#BonusBeat: Stream/support Soul On Ice 2 by Ras Kass:

Over two decades ago, Ras Kass planted a flag for lyricism that balanced accounts of life in the streets of South Central with information found in the books that upset the setup. That unique gift culminated on Soul On Ice, the MC’s 1996 debut that has been heralded in circles ever since it dropped. Ever since, Ras Kass has been a beacon for the same kind of music, without compromise.

This weekend, Ras releases Soul On Ice 2 (embedded below), a long-touted sequel to his breakthrough work. He does so with assistance from S.O.I. collaborator Diamond D, as well as a cast that includes Snoop Dogg, Immortal Technique, CeeLo, and Blasphemy collaborator, producer Apollo Brown.

Ras Kass Reflects In-Depth On The 20th Anniversary Of Soul On Ice (AFH TV Video)

In a similar vein as his ’96 project, Kass’ latest effort attacks the harsh realities of the world in which he and his constituents live. Despite the time in between records, the mentality and messages between Soul On Ice and its sequel ring true and remain consistent. Comparing his latest album to his debut in a press statement, the MC notes, “What’s stark is how little has changed. The ghosts of America’s original sins continue to haunt, but they’re now twinned with a variety of new indignities from minor to major. They range from trust fund kids pretending to be broke and plasticine women to weed being legal, but the police will still kill you.”

Despite its impressive cast, one of S.O.I. 2‘s finest moments is Ras Kass alone. “Opioid Crisis,” a nod to his single “Nature Of A Threat,” from his Soul On Ice debut, also doubles as the album’s standoff. For seven minutes, Kass rips apart America’s current establishment over Chuck James’ production. Kass’ message is haunting, as the HRSMN rapper continues to attack the same powers that be that he began rapping about over 20 years ago.

Ras Kass Rhymes With A Vengeance. He Vows To Make 2019 His Year (Video Premiere)

To open, Kass describes a scene with his trademark wicked wordplay. “At Max’s eating a philly / Alt-Right tried to kill me / Dropped my cheesesteak and grabbed the MAC semi / Scuffling, shot a Republican in the face with it / Only the second time I’ve seen an eagle kill a patriot / That’s a Brady fumble, let me slay you double / Catch an L, then another, let the ladies love you / Rappers lazy paying baby dues to vaguely mumble / I’m from a stronger breed, victims of the ’80s struggle / Crack cocaine decimated poor neighborhoods / Politicians attacked us for the ‘greater good’ / The War On Crime, got more people in prison / Than living in Wyoming and South Dakota combined / Society blind / Or willfully ignorant / Ain’t no moral high ground when you’re killing your citizens / Yo, the hood got locked for rock / The ‘burbs sniffed powder and got a slap on the wrist from cops / Stop, frisk, stand your ground / Had b*tches boostin’ in Beverly Hills when Whitney Houston drowned.” Using football and government homonyms, Razzy Kazzy eventually ties his verse to the controversial Rockefeller Laws.

In his second verse, Kass dives deeper into America’s drug epidemic, one that affects not just the country, but the Rap game as well. Then The Purple One OD’d / I went from the revolution to sitting in the nosebleeds / Youngsters try to insinuate you’re washed up they call you O.G. / Nope, I’m just the homie / You in the trap, I’m the best lil’ ni**a / Wash your dirty f*cking mouth out with zest, lil’ ni**a / And Lil’ Peep got depressed, deceased his flesh / So how is it legal to sell a drug with a million side effects, including death / ‘Cause the same condition it supposed to treat / No cures, they sell temporary pain relief / Big pharmaceutical companies supply the ‘burbs / ‘Cause all the pills in West Virginia made by Heisenberg / Republicans blame Mexico, visit New Hampshire, where the Mexicans? / I asked Alexis, them / ‘How do I make heroin out of Dexatrim and Fentanyl?’ / Y’all catchin’ Zs when I spit at y’all / I should be in Forbes for all the illest bars / Time to join the racket, no tennis ball / It ain’t the Mexican cartel, ain’t the Black folk / ‘Cause the real plug wearing white lab coats.”

Ras Kass Reworks “Soul On Ice” With Some New Lyrics That Burn (Video Premiere)

Further into the track’s second segment, Kass fights the industry, acknowledging the deep-seeded issues within the industry and Priority Records. He even points the finger at himself. Ras rhymes, “I’m spitting bars my G, ’til I R.I.P / Ask No I.D. / I’ma shine like the star I be / Not lookin’ down on the ground in Hollywood / I be in the hood, stronger despite what this industry did to me / Ten years of litigation, that liar Wendy G / Sometimes the insult is the favor, thank you my frenemies / I’m lovin’ it, we need more women up in the government / Support the #MeToo movement, but I’m discoverin’ / Acknowledges, self-admitted misogynist / The problem is with feminism, it’s corrupted, mister-sogynist.”

Press photograph provided by MAC Media.

Elzhi, Ras Kass & Large Professor Rap About The Enduring Problems From Reaganomics

#BonusBeat: Stream/support Soul On Ice 2 by Ras Kass:





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